More doormat joy last week, with the arrival of Flicker Alley’s five-disc box-set Georges Méliès: First Wizard of Cinema. As you may well know, this magician-turned filmmaker blazed a trail in the art of fantasy and science fiction cinema while others were happy filming parades and folks leaving factories. It’s been very difficult to get hold of any of his work in a decent condition for home viewing but now, thanks to Flicker Alley, we have thirteen hours of the stuff. 173 films, including the likes of Trip to the Moon, Impossible Voyage and The Man With the Rubber Head. As you’d expect there is a fair bit of repetition on there, but this is a wonderful thing to dip into and also includes a halfhour biopic by Georges Franju (made slightly creepy by the fact that Méliès’ widow plays herself while he is played by his son) and a tribute written by Norman McLaren.
Ordinarily this thread marks the passing of forgotten legends or cult heroes and it seems a little flippant to include a 33 year-old in ‘Obituary Corner’. But this is the kind of thing that won’t get a mention in the papers, and we thought it should be noted here. A four-man operation that grew out of college in Kent, Shynola were a big factor in getting us and many others excited about animation and music videos 7 or 8 years ago and Gideon Baws was central to the group. He died from a virus on 11th October. There’s more at antville and Creative Review and below is one of Shynola’s finest moments, their Lambchop video.
We reached the halfway point in our Worcestershire archive tour last week, with over 100 people coming along to the Priory in Great Malvern. The audience response has been brilliant, and for us jaded city kids it’s also been great to see the leaves turning throughout the month and discovering little shops and pubs along the way. A brief record of our voyage so far can be found on the projects page, and if you want to catch the tour we’re in Bretforton (nr Evesham) and Droitwich this week, then Pershore and Worcester next month.
A last-minute reminder that there is a 48-hour film challenge going on in Birmingham this weekend, if you happen to have three days spare. At 6pm tomorrow you get your brief, and by 6pm on Sunday you need to have planned, shot and edited your film. More details on the Film Dash blog.
Yet another thing we forgot to mention in our listings; this is an exhibition which runs until 9 November at the University of Birmingham. It’s part of a wider project where artists and writers from across Europe share their experience of the transition from dictatorship to democracy. There is also a series of Wednesday night screenings at the Rainbow pub in Digbeth to complement the show, starting tomorrow (Weds 15 Oct) at 7pm with The Lives of Others.
We haven’t found a name for this expectant bird yet but you will find him adorning the rejiggled Flatpack 3 website, as well as lovely flyers which are already wending their way across the country. The site includes info on how you can submit your own work to the festival, or indeed a suggestion for the short film programme, and there’s also another one of those pesky blogs. Design by Gas and web wizardry by Jacob Masters. The festival runs from 11 to 15 March 2009.
…And while we’re on the subject of film festival blogs we should say a swift bigup to the one for Sheffield Doc/Fest (5-9 November), which manages to be consistently thoughtful about documentary and not just flogging their events.
It’s always good to start the day with a pleasant surprise through the letterbox, and a dvd of ‘The People and the Whale’ is just what our Friday needed. It’s a short animation by Stockholm-based Peter Larsson, whose earlier film ‘The Man Who Got Nowhere’ we showed at Flatpack 2. Once again Larsson has peopled his work with grotesque clay folk who show a tendency towards mob mentality and incoherent shouting, showing how a beached whale becomes a beacon for the local community. The cathartic explosion at the end reminded us of a real-life incident in Florence, Oregon…
More info on Larsson’s films and nifty collages can be found at hockey-rawk.com. We’ll definitely show it at the next festival, but if you can’t wait until March Peter is selling DVD copies on the site.